2018ITALY: day 6

JUNE 27: an amazing day. We were all assembled at 7 30am to enter the Paul 6th meeting hall right next to St. Peter’s Square. Our group of 130 was there along with about 150 persons with disabilities who were in Rome to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics. Our group w a s seated in rows of chairs right in the front. We agreed to have three interpreters: ASL, LSM (Spanish), and LSI (Italian). The interpreters were nervous because they would be near the Pope. Suddenly, around 8 15, Pope Francis walked out on stage. Our whole group was waving( deaf applause). Young people with disabilities were yelling and applauding. Suddenly the Pope turned to the deaf group and waved back.
The Pope then gave a short talk and thanked DCYIA for coming to the Vatican. He walked down from the stage and talked to and hugged each of the young people, many of whom had severe disabilities. Then…
…he came over to our group.with interpreters on each side of him, he stopped and talked to every person in our group. Many of the young deaf people who had come from Mexico, Guatemala, and Panama could not stop crying.The Pope was surprised to meet two deaf priests, Fr. Shawn Carey and Fr. Chris Klusman. BRIAN SWATEK presented him with a Chcago Bears Jersey with the name POPE FRANCIS 1 on the back.The Pope laughed out loud and Brian explained it was an American football team. He took the jersey.
Finally Pope left. Many of those in our group still were so overcome with emotion, they just sat in their chairs tears of joy rolling down their cheeks. T he Pope was out in St. Peter’s Square greeting the 75,000 people sitting there in the hot sun.
PART 2 to follow.

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